It's out with the old and in with the new as 2009 transitions into 2010 in just a few short hours. There's no question that it's been a fantastic, crazy and occasionally tumultuous year for comic book fans thanks to film releases like "Watchmen" and compelling news stories regarding "Iron Man 2," "Green Lantern" and others.
But all of that is in the past now. It's time to look forward at what we can expect in the new year. There are still many announced comic book movies and television shows that lack official casting, but with some of these projects heading into production in 2010, it's only a matter of time before the secrets are revealed.
While we all have our own favorite franchises and characters, these are the five heroes and villains I'm dying to see cast in 2010.
Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark and Chris Hemsworth is Thor, but who will wield the shield as Steve Rogers in "The First Avenger: Captain America"? Recent word suggests that the movie starts production in June, which means that a casting announcement could arrive any day now. Given the character's iconic status as America's greatest hero, it's completely understandable why Marvel Studios is taking their time — but that doesn't mean we're not getting antsy here on the fanboy side of things.
Personal Choice: If the best person suited to play Steve Rogers isn't an American, that is absolutely fine by me — that's why it's called acting, after all. In my opinion, Alexander Skarsgård is the perfect fit for the role. The only strike against him is his nationality, and I refuse to take that under consideration given his other qualities. Sure, I think it's a heck of a long shot, but I've got my fingers crossed on Skarsgård's behalf.
At long last, the Cimmerian hero is returning to theaters, even if Arnold Schwarzenegger is nowhere to be found this time around. Casting Conan is no easy feat given the need to find a performer with the perfect physique and the right acting chops to pull off all of the warrior's complexities. Still, with production rumored to begin in February, chances are very good that the filmmakers behind "Conan" are on the cusp of announcing something soon.
Personal Choice: While I think Conan would be best served with an unknown actor in the lead role, I'd also happily take Sam Worthington in the part. After seeing him in "Avatar," there's no question that Worthington can play the dumb jock turned leader of men, which is an arc that Conan himself isn't a stranger to. His build isn't perfect for the role, but with some extra weight training, I think Worthington could be our guy.
Jeremy Renner kicked off a heck of a rumor by suggesting his potential participation as Hawkeye in "Thor" and "The Avengers," and while official confirmation of the character's involvement has yet to come down, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Clint Barton grace the big screen. The question is, of course, who is going to play him?
Personal Choice: Renner isn't necessarily a lock, and I'm not even sure he's the best choice out there. Personally, I'd rather see the role go to occasional "Star Trek" hero Chris Pine. He's got the sharp wit and the action hero credentials, and Hawkeye isn't such a big role that it will distract from Pine's status as James T. Kirk.
Perhaps the greatest casting coup of 2009 came in the form of Ryan Reynolds signing up for Hal Jordan in "Green Lantern," having already played the role of Wade Wilson in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and, presumably, in the upcoming "Deadpool" spin-off. But casting Hal is only one piece of the puzzle for "Green Lantern," as the film still needs to cast several other characters — and there is no casting decision more important than that of Sinestro, Hal's purple-skinned mentor turned nemesis.
Personal Choice: If Martin Campbell's space epic is somehow able to land Daniel Day-Lewis in the role of Sinestro, I would be an unbelievably happy camper. It's not a likely scenario, especially given the actor's recently stated aversion to blockbuster films, but if Day-Lewis could get past that and into the headspace of Hal Jordan's greatest foe, I think he'd revel in the part.
"THE WALKING DEAD" CAST
Without a doubt, the impending arrival of Robert Kirkman's "The Walking Dead" as an AMC television series is one of the most anticipated comics-to-screen projects of 2010. Still, it's not an easy project to cast, especially considering the fact that many of the series' main characters come and go like the wind due to the dangerous zombie-filled world.
Personal Choice: I still stand by my original casting call — alright, Tyrese as Tyrese isn't the world's greatest idea — but the one that I'd really like to see happen is Peter Krause as Rick Grimes. Physically, the two are an ideal match. In terms of the emotional journey that Rick goes through, I think there are few television actors that can pull off that turmoil better than Krause, who went to hell and back and plenty of other places on HBO's superb "Six Feet Under."
Tell us about the casting announcements and your corresponding casting picks that you're dying to read about next year in the comments section or on Twitter!